Who can step up for the Timberwolves?
Every team graduates top players, and UNBC will be looking for the leadership and 16 ppg which left with Rhys Elliott, the Aussie sniper. Another loss is the injury absence of forward Austin Chandler, who could have been expected to play solid minutes.
Coach Todd Jordan knows it’s a challenge to compete in a “ tough Canada West League”. “Many teams have had significant changes, but we are always working to move ahead”, says the 8 year head
man. “I think we have some ‘old school’ inside men with some experience, who are joining us this season. We think we’ll be more combative, and tougher to play against.”
UNBC has potential leaders like 5th year guard, Marcus MacKay (Terrace, BC), the leading returning scorer at 12.5 ppg and Jesse Mushiana (Vancouver) is a 4th year, 6-7 forward with some moves inside. Point man James Agyeman , 4th year (Brampton, ON) is lightning quick, and import forward, Vaggelis Loukas (Athens, Greece) is a 6-5, 4th year battler at forward.
After a red-shirt year in ’16-’17, ‘Vova’ Pluzhnikov, a 6-1 Ukrainian import, is expected to be new floor leader for the ‘Wolves. 6-5, 4th year, Jovan Leamy (Toronto), transfers from Ryerson with the size and experience to give the T’Wolves a boost. He will be available to play in early November (1 year after leaving the Rams program).
These elements need to all come together if this UNBC team can climb into playoff contention. Since his days as a player with his hometown team back in the early 2000s, Coach Jordan has been pouring his every effort into building this program. He believes, “We will be more intense, more consistent, and physically tougher .”
Timberwolves last year – 4-16 … a long way up Prognosis – The ‘Wolves will have to fight to get to .500, but, with so many re-building teams, this may be the year to move up.
UNBC has been ‘amazing’ for MacKay
After learning the game from his Dad, Cam, Head Coach at Caledonia High School (Terrace, BC), Marcus MacKay moved to Prince George to play at UNBC. Since that freshman year, the 6-4 guard has come into his own, with 28, 26, and 25 point games last season. “Now, I have to get more consistent”, says a determined Mackay. “No more following up with a 5 or 6 point effort the next night.”
Playing at UNBC means you’re ‘the biggest game in town’, and Marcus says “it’s been incredible” to have the big crowds, the enthusiasm, and the support from the Timberwolves faithful. “Many times it’s packed, it’s loud, and it’s a big thrill for us to play in front of our crowd.” The community gets involved in supporting the team, from hiring players to summer jobs, to sponsoring athletes and the team for travel expenses.
Acknowledging how “5 years has flown by so quickly”, MacKay says, “I’m aiming to be the hardest working, to play more physically, to focus as a team leader, and inspire confidence in my teammates.” After searching for a ‘perfect major’, Marcus is now aiming at an Education program to finish up at UNBC. He is excited to now be following in the footsteps of his two parents, who both teach in Terrace. “I’m not sure where I want to teach”, he says. “But that’s what I know I want to do.”
Marcus is wanting to make his final season with the ‘Wolves one to remember, and he just wants to let the game ‘come to him’. Not so much about firm personal goals, but more focused on the team process, and advancing the common cause.
Saturday scores –
In Victoria … Carleton 99 Victoria 61 , Concordia 94 Guelph 61
UNBC beats Mt. Royal , Seattle Mountaineers at Trinity Western, Lethbridge 110 Lethbridge Coll. 67, Western 116 UBC-O 52 , Windsor 92 Centennial Coll 68, Acadia 101 Holland Coll 73 , McMaster 92 Memorial 77
Saint Marys 79 Cape Breton 60, UNB 79 UQAM 77 … UNB Tourney